EVERGREEN, Colo. (KDVR) -- The Colorado Department of Transportation is now asking for the public's ideas for its plan to improve 6 miles of Interstate 70 west of Floyd Hill.
CDOT held a public meeting on the I-70 Floyd Hill to Veterans Memorial Tunnel Project Thursday night in Evergreen.
The agency announced plans for the project nearly a decade ago. It now has $100 million to move forward with an environmental assessment and preliminary engineering.
This stretch of interstate is often crowded and leads to major traffic back-ups, especially on weekends during ski season.
The interstate was built to accommodate about 30,000 to 40,000 vehicles per day. Now, at its peak during ski season, about 70,000 vehicles per day travel on it.
"On weekends it's horrible," said Sid Hanks, who lives in Idaho Springs. "I think any improvement would help."
CDOT's plan is to reconfigure the highway with bridges, curves and walls to make I-70 safer for drivers. This could also include widening westbound I-70 from two lanes to three and adding a tunnel near the bottom of Floyd Hill and the eastern edge of Idaho Springs. Another idea would be to elevate the lanes with a viaduct.
"Safety is one of our biggest issues we want address," said CDOT project manager Neil Ogden.
The project is set to cost $600 million to $700 million dollars and take four to five years to complete once construction starts.
Two alternatives are under consideration for adding the third lane of capacity along westbound I-70 between US 6 and the Hidden Valley/Central City Interchange:
- The Tunnel Alternative would construct a tunnel that would carry three lanes in the westbound direction of I-70. Eastbound I-70 would be realigned on the exiting highway footprint to flatten curves. This alternative also includes two options for the alignment of the new frontage road on either the north or south side of Clear Creek.
- The Canyon Viaduct Alternative would construct a viaduct structure and elevate both the eastbound and westbound lanes of I-70 through the Clear Creek Canyon. The existing I-70 highway under the new bridges would be used for the frontage road and Greenway.
- The EA is also evaluating the No Action Alternative, which would replace the failing bridge at the bottom of Floyd Hill (near the US 6 junction with I-70) but not add any roadway capacity or other improvements.
Learn more about the project -- including how to contact CDOT about it -- on the agency's website.